RIP Ranking Roger

Sad to hear today of the death of Ranking Roger, singer with the two-tone band The Beat (aka The English Beat in the USA, and The British Beat in Australia).
The blending of youth culture in music and race, through British two-tone and ska of the 70s and early 80s, seemed to be a beacon for racial integration in an increasingly divided UK at the time.
As a party DJ, it’s always a thrill when you get to play tunes and genres that, these days, are far from mainstream, and so it was when a small group of American lawyers and bankers in their 50s (one very senior in the firm), having their annual staff dinner in a smallish Hong Kong bar, asked if I could play some two-tone.
The bar wasn’t big enough for dancing, but tables and chairs were rapidly pushed aside for them to indulge in a bit of skanking and pogoing in their immaculate tailor-made suits.
To me, seeing that group of well-educated Caucasians embracing a British inter-racial youth culture that, itself, emanated from the poorest parts of Jamaica, was something of a legacy of a movement that almost was.

Roger has to be regarded as one of the pioneers of that movement, and I have to thank him for helping bring the joy of Jamaican music to white rude boys everywhere.

RIP Ranking Roger.

Watch him ranking on YouTube here

Hong Kong Beat mobile disco kicks off the flip flops and sinks into a wicker chair at the beach side with cool reggae this Chillout Tuesday

Drop a wedge of lemon and some mint leaves in to the glass, then crack some rum over ice cubes. What, it’s only 8 am you say? Even better for Chillout Tuesday, Jamaica style…

Time for some skanking and moonstomping with Hong Kong Beat Mobile Disco

Hadn’t played much – in fact any – ska or reggae since the late 90s after the British Army left Hong Kong, until an American gent pestered me to play some at a small corporate gig a year or so ago, where I had been tasked to just play light cocktail music. Well, since he was the host, I gave in and put together a short 15 minute or so set. Tables and chairs in the trendy bar were quickly put aside and we were back in 1970s/80s town halls all across Britain… Real tasty 🙂